Rod Serling: “Imagine a man so thoughtless and empty, devoid of rational thought, whose appeal to millions rested on his moment-to-moment ability to appease those worst madding crowd instincts to the detriment of all mankind. Then…. picture him as President, a disastrous stop on the previously unimaginable but avoided nuclear journey to….. The Twilight Zone.”
In the heat of the 1988 campaign, Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis was asked the most famous question in the history of presidential debates by Bernard Shaw:
“Governor, if Kitty Dukakis were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the killer?” Dukakis answered instantly and smoothly. “No, I don’t, Bernard,” he said. “And I think you know that I’ve opposed the death penalty during all of my life.”
Dukakis had flubbed the answer, showing no emotion, triggering instant analysis by all that he had effectively lost the election right there. No matter that he was being utterly consistent with his own beliefs; this was no flip-flop or pander. By the way, Dukakis to this day fully admits he blew it. Most importantly though, it was an answer to a direct question, posed in such a provocative, unpredictable way that Dukakis’ answer, at minimum, was ice-cold but understandable. Here it is, in all its sweaty splendor!
In 1988 it was one answer, one time, to one question. Game, set, match. This is what has driven so many of us up and over that big, beautiful wall about Donald Trump. He has blurted out Dukakis-level/elimination-style statements and answers regularly since last June that have been continuously and erroneously predicted to be fatal mistakes. And that’s not even considering the 120mph barrage of lies on every subject all the time. We’re all tuned in, by now, that the shock jock, WWE, you’ve-been-screwed-by-politics-as-usual-I’m-the-last-honest-man shtick has worked among a plurality of Republican primary voters. Need we go through this again? Megyn Kelly’s menstruation, mocking the disabled NY Times reporter, the Trump Tower In My Pants contest with Marco Rubio, being the Original Barack Obama Birther, his periodic but consistent remarks about wanting to have sex with his daughter Ivanka, the new mommy, the list is endless and grows each day.
This week, having decided he hadn’t yet pushed the electorate and the world over the cliff, Trump went nuclear with both abortion and the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons.
The longtime pro-choice Trump decided a few years ago that a path to the Republican nomination necessitated him switching teams on abortion. He never gave it much thought, like everything else he appears to do in this campaign, spouting what he thinks is the most rigid, outrageous, definitive position designed to force everyone else to react and respond to his statement, controlling the news cycle once more. There is no doubt that his answer this week that women who get abortions in Trump’s America are criminals who must be prosecuted for their crime was pure, unadulterated Trump; completely thoughtless, mindless pandering to what he thought would be the right-wingiest thing he could say. Those women are breaking the law that he would singlehandedly change on Day One or through beautiful Supreme Court Justices who he’ll soon name. He may as well have said that while “I would never say it’s ok to shoot abortion doctors who kill babies…. I wouldn’t say that…. I’m not condoning it….I can understand why people do it….” Finally, living up to his pledge to be the greatest uniting president ever, Trump finally brought together the wholly incompatible pro-life and pro-choice movements in condemnation. The guy who never has made a mistake, never admits he’s wrong, walked it all back within hours with a prepared statement written by his lawyers, who must have Googled the question: how do we sound like we know what the hell we’re talking about?
“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.”
Yea, that sure reads the way Donald Trump speaks, doesn’t it?
I found that as far back as August, Trump broached the subject of the use of nuclear weapons, always reserving the right to use them against ISIS. Here he was on Meet the Press on August 9th, responding to a question about authorizing nukes to combat Islamic extremism:
“Let’s face it, these people are barbarians,” Trump said. “And thanks to Obama’s failed policy in Iraq and Syria, they’re beheading Christians all over the world… Civilian casualties are an unfortunate “reality of war” according to Trump, who justified the use of nuclear weapons saying they “send a clear message to those who conspire against America and her allies.” Mr. Trump said that unlike past and present administrations, he possesses the “moral fortitude to do what must be done” to protect America. “We’re losing to China. We’re losing to Mexico. We will not lose to ISIS,” Trump said.
He has skated by and grown his numbers with this kind of irrational bluster (equating ISIS terrorism with our relationships with Mexico and China). Unable to keep two thoughts in his pretty little head at once, the last few days he’s moved on from telling us how he’ll rip up the deal with Iran regarding their nuclear program, essentially breaking with the policy of non-proliferation out of disgust that we pay too much to keep the world safe and everybody’s gonna be nuclear someday, so let’s get it on. How do you deter North Korea and its crazy boy from dropping or lobbing a bomb on South Korea or Japan? Let them have nuclear weapons too. It’s only fair! It’s as if his number one advisor on nuclear weapons is Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. “The Only Thing That Stops a Bad Country With a Nuke is a Good Country With a Nuke.” Now everyone is noticing. Here’s the Vox version:
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: It has been a U.S. policy for decades to prevent Japan from getting a nuclear weapon.
TRUMP: That might be policy, but maybe…
COOPER: South Korea as well.
TRUMP: Can I be honest are you? Maybe it’s going to have to be time to change, because so many people, you have Pakistan has it, you have China has it. You have so many other countries are now having it.
Can the imagination fathom President Donald Trump in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis? What will it be like to have a president who literally has a nuclear temper?
‘Total catastrophe’: Experts say Donald Trump’s position on nuclear proliferation would be a disaster says Business Insider